Friday, October 06, 2006

CARNIVAL OF CARS: A Drive Around The Auto Blog Block for Friday, October 6, 2006

Did this week see another sign of approaching Armagaddeon in that the venerable London Taxi may soon be built in China or is that wholly unexpected announcement merely another indication of the emergence of a more rational world economy? Take your pick on that question, but in the meantime we've got a bunch of sights to see on this week's drive around the auto blog block. Let's hit the road!

Joe Sherlock at The View Through the Windshield is a man of his own mind. Here's what he says about buying a car based entirely on advertising: "I don't care how good the ad or television commercial is, if the car is a piece of dreck, I won't be motivated in the least to add
it to my shopping list."

And there are those car ads are so cheesy or stupid they make you want to ... VW, are you listening?

They must have some great marketing classes at the University of Maine. Or maybe Heather Conary's superb post at AskPatty on car-buying tips for women is just proof that she is one smart lass. Check it out, regardless of which side of the gender universe you occupy.

And in the same vein, Carsopia has posted part two of its five-parter on buying used, er, previously owned vehicles.

More on the Piaggi MP3 at the American Inventor Spot. Don't know what the MP3 is? Well, here's a couple of the three-wheelers in action:

Chuck at CarBuyingTips says now is the time to refinance your car and save some money. I don't know about this, but he invites people who try it to come back and post comments on their experience. Will be interesting to see if anybody does so.

Chuck is also pushing a product that claims to make your vehicle's license plate invisible to traffic cameras. I am skeptical of such claims. Anybody out there know the full skinny on these claims?

Chuck isn't just peddling stuff this week, though. He's also got some interesting info on how much car sales folks make in commissions.

Also at CarBuyingTips, Matt Keegan really likes the Nissan Maxima. Matt also opines at his own blog, The Auto Writer. He's not surprised that Rick and Carlos aren't sharing a ride to automotive glory.

This seems like an open-and-shut case - Garage Doors is a new Carnival of Cars contributor and thinks you ought to take a serious look at Classica 3000 garage doors because, among other things, they provide superb energy efficiency. Anybody have any experience with Classica, good or bad?

Dorrington Williams of If It's Got An Engine ... was at Road Atlanta for last weekend's season-ending Petit LeMans and was struck by the unexpected quiet of the Audi diesels. The R10 TDI won the Petit LeMans, as well as the 24 Hour in France.

Ever heard of the "Standard Presumptive Value" of a used car? Neither had anybody else until the Texas state legislature decided the Lone Star State's tax collectors were being cheated by private party used car sales that undervalue the transaction. Kay Bell at Don't Mess With Taxes has the details. Let's hope this doesn't spread to other states.

There they were luxuriating in the silence of the forest when Mad Kane and her husband Mark were suddenly assaulted by the shrill shreik of a car alarm. Go here to read the rest.

Brian at is meditating on the question of which championship race is more exciting, Nextel Cup's The Chase, the Michael and Fernando show in F1 or the NHRA Funny Car contest. Seems to me NASCAR isn't getting the play out of The Chase this year that it received last time around.

The Garage Blog has posted the third installment in its five-part series on buying used.

So, moving right along ...

Eric Peters of says the four-door sportscar is out, luxury is in with the 07 Maxima.

If you doubt Peters, check out the photo above of the center console of the new Maxima.

Frank Williams spent some time recently in a vehicle some consider the automotive penalty box - the Kia Rio - and offered this observation among many in a review at The Truth About Cars:

"The zero to sixty amble takes forever. The handling is… what are you nuts? It doesn’t fall over, and anyone who manages to generate enough speed to make the Rio’s tires squeal gets what they deserve. OK? Let’s stay focused here."

Yes, let's.

Paris always a good idea, they say, and Eric Riches of The Driving Woman was there last week for the Paris Auto Show. Among other things, she noted the Europeans approach seating in a minivan differently than we do here in the The Land of the Free.

Over at The Auto Prophet, folks are reading license tags. Must be slow these days.

The Pentagon wants a better Humvee and Bob at Straightline has the specs. You think GM will bid on this one? Wagoner certainly knows something about combat now. Maybe jut not the right kind.

If you follow the Beeb's Top Gear, you know Richard Hammond nearly died in a recent crash. Now Left Lane News says the Beeb is thinking of doing a documentary in which Hammond provides commentary. Strange.

Bob Lutz found things a little less than exciting in Paris last week. His thoughts are on Fastlane Blog, as always.

There may yet be life stirring at TVR, according to

That's the TVR at left. What is about the Brits that they somehow nurture these eccentric marques? I just wish the Jensen-Healey had somehow managed to survive.

The BS Detectors are on Full Strength at the Auto Extremist because Peter DeLorenzo is translating auto industryese - you know, stuff like "we listened to our customers and they told us to build an oval-obsessive Taurus." This is essential reading for anybody who takes seriously anything said by the marketing poobahs at any of the automakers, regardless of the continent on which they are located.

And on that jaunty note, it appears we have reached the end of this week's journey.

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